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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Cruel Destination" or "Devils in Mykonos" or "A Craving for Lust" or "Ta paidia tou Diavolou" )

 

directed by Nico Mastorakis
Greece 1977

Christopher (Bob Behling, CUJO) and Celia (Jane Ryall) flee to Mykonos and turn avenging angels on anyone they deem to be perverted (which is a bit like calling the kettle black since Christopher boffs an adorable-looking goat when Celia's not in the mood). Gays, lesbians, prostitutes, hippies, rapists, druggies, various fornicators, and even an African-American private detective hired to trail them by their mother are among the victims as the siblings tour the picturesque settings (although they train their camera more on the murders than the monuments), but they may have met their match in a mute shepherd (Nikos Tsachiridis).

Writer/producer/director/edtior/uncredited cinematographer/lyricist Niko Mastorakis learned his trade in Greek television and made his first film DEATH HAS BLUE EYES, a low-budget paranormal action flick, in 1976. After seeing THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (and learning how much money it made), he decided to mount a similarly low budget, but far more violent and sexually-perverted. He reportedly put to paper a list of every violent means of death he could conceive of on a Thursday, made a similar list of every twisted sexual act he could think of on a Friday, and wrote the script over the weekend. Although leads Behling and Ryall had modeling backgrounds (both had also appeared in the Greek/British co-production THE DEVIL'S MEN/LAND OF THE MINOTAUR with Peter Cushing and Donald Pleasance the previous year), British Jessica Dublin (also in THE DEVIL'S MEN) already had some cult films under her belt (and more to come), and Tsachiridis had been acting since the fifties (130 credits, according to IMDb), most of the supporting cast were people that Mastorakis approached on the street who didn't look Greek and could speak English (Mastorakis has a small role himself). Despite the carnage and bigotry (or religious fanaticism) on display, few if any cult movie aficionados would be offended by this admittedly crass-but-successful concoction (for a movie that throws in everything but the kitchen sink when it comes to perversion, the narrative is anything but predictable despite the flashback structure); in fact, some find it incredibly funny. For all of its nudity and crudely-fashioned grue, ISLAND OF DEATH gained most of its reputation from being banned in several countries (although it had been severely trimmed for its theatrical release in the UK, it was the full-strength cut that arrived on videotape and became a Video Nasty; all previous UK editions were subject to BBFC cuts until Arrow's 2010 submission). The success of the film sales-wise allowed Mastorakis to hone his craft on larger budgets as director and producer (including J. Lee Thompson's THE GREEK TYCOON). His most prolific period was the mid-eighties and early nineties in America (although he returned to Greece for his tense and atmospheric chiller THE WIND with Meg Foster and Wings Hauser, which is well-worth seeking out).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 15 January 1977 (Japan)

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Comparison:

Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL vs. Arrow Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray

1) Arrow - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the DVD Review!

Box Covers

 

Also coming to North America on Blu-ray from Arrow, one day later:

      

 

Distribution

Arrow Video

Region 0 - PAL

Arrow Video
Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:41:54 (4% PAL speedup) 1:46:00.103
Video

1.32:1 Open Matte format
Average Bitrate: 5.3 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,060,891,090 bytes

Feature: 31,026,634,560 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.94 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Bitrate Blu-ray

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles none English (SDH), none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.32:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by director Nico Mastorakis
• Q&A with director Nico Mastorakis (16:9; 16:53)
• Interview with Nico Mastorakis (4:3; 24:59)
• Original Trailer (4:3; 2:54)
• The Music of ISLAND OF DEATH (4:3; 6:42)
• 2010 re-recordings of DESTINATION UNDERSTANDING (16:9; 20:38)
• Double-sided poster
• Collector's Booklet

DVD Release Date: March 21st, 2011
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Video

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,060,891,090 bytes

Feature: 31,026,634,560 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.94 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Exploring Island of Death film historian Stephen  Thrower on the making of a cult classic (38:26)
Return to Island of Death Mastorakis returns to the original Mykonos locations (16:57)
Archive interview with Mastorakis (23:44)
Alternative opening titles (:50 + 1:07)
Island Sounds five original tracks from the Island of Death soundtrack (24:02)
Original Theatrical Trailer (3:05)
The Films of Nico Mastorakis four-part documentary charting the director s filmmaking career (58:29 + 23:40 + 35:44 + 40:46)
Nico Mastorakis Trailer Reel (34:16)
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
Fully-illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing by academic and film historian Johnny Walker

 

Blu-ray Release Date: May 25th and 26th, 2015

Amaray

Chapters 12

 

 

 

Comments

NOTE: These Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray (May 2015):  Firstly, this is another Arrow Blu-ray release that is being simultaneously released in both region 'A' (US) and 'B' (UK). It is the exact same package on both sides of the pond to the best of my knowledge.

 

NOTE: As Michael Brooke informs us on Facebook about, the similar situation with, Day of Anger: 'As the producer of Arrow's release, I can confirm first hand that the UK and US discs are absolutely identical: we only paid for one master, so there's no doubt about this at all! Which means that no matter which package you buy, the discs will play in any Region A or B setup (or Region 1 or 2 for DVD - and in the latter case the video standard is NTSC, to maximise compatibility). The booklets are also identical, but there are minor cosmetic differences on the disc labels and sleeve to do with differing copyright info and barcodes, and the US release doesn't have BBFC logos.'

 

Substantial increase in a/v quality (as the screen captures will attest) but the audio is still a shade sreetchy in exporting some of the music. Strangely, we lose the commentary on Arrow's SD but gain a girth of other supplements including the 2.5 hour, four-part, documentary The Films of Nico Mastorakis which film students interested in exploring this director should find very educational. There is plenty more - including the 38-minute Exploring Island of Death with film historian Stephen Thrower on the making of a cult classic and the 1/4 hour Return to Island of Death where Mastorakis returns to the original Mykonos locations. Plus we get an archive interview with Mastorakis, a look at the alternative opening titles, Island Sounds is five original tracks by Nikos Lavranos from the Island of Death soundtrack and the 1/2 hour Nico Mastorakis Trailer Reel likewise exposes more of the director's efforts. The package has a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys and contains a liner notes collector's booklet featuring new writing by academic and film historian Johnny Walker.

 

I was polarized by this unusual and taboo-delving film. Odd, but well realized, and a very disturbing premise but the themes throughout are examined with consistent clarity. I'd be leery recommending this title to mainstream film fans. This is 'out there' folks, but I think it has something to offer. So, that is a tempered recommendation for the film, but the Arrow Blu-ray is another magnificently complete product from these guys. Could we have all their competitors BD's this well produced?  

***

ON THE DVD: Like Mastorakis' previous 2002 digital master, Arrow's progressive, open-matte transfer features video-generated opening credits. Reportedly, the previous master had not been correctly tinted for the day-for-night scenes and this has been rectified here. Sourced from the original negative, the image is very clean and colorful with only a few instances of wear. The fullframe aspect ratio is confirmed to be open-matte (most Greek film productions of the era were also shot and projected full frame). The English mono audio is in good condition and bold in its electronic music, odd folk songs, dialogue, and attentive sound design. While the Mastorakis interview and "The Music of ISLAND OF DEATH" featurette appeared on the original 2002 Image Entertainment disc (Mastorakis remastered some of his titles in 2002 and produced extras for DVD licensing), the rest of the extras are newly-produced.

A good-humored Mastorakis appears in an audio commentary, interview, and a Q&A session from a Dublin showing of the film. Mastorakis delivers an amusing (yet probably true) anecdote of how he conceived and cast the film and makes light of the film's status as a Video Nasty. He and moderator Waddell have a good rapport during the commentary, and Mastorakis frankly explains that the film was inspired by TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE only so in far as it was a low budget film that made a lot of money (he also explains that the original title DEVILS IN MYKONOS refers not to the locals, but to the tourist trade including the film's protagonists). A trailer under the alternate title CRUEL DESTINATION is also included. The "2010 Re-recording of 'Destination Understanding'" is an entertaining featurette with five covers of the song by Garage Rock band Acid Fascists, Indie band Sea Bass Kid, Riot Grrrl band The Fnords, Bluegrass band Southern Tenant Folk Union, and Extreme Noise band Kylie Minoise.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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1) Arrow - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT

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1) Arrow - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 


1) Arrow - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 


1) Arrow - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 


 

1) Arrow - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

More Blu-ray Captures


Box Covers

 

Also coming to North America on Blu-ray from Arrow, one day later:

      

 

Distribution

Arrow Video

Region 0 - PAL

Arrow Video
Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 




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